Two Crusader pitchers quieted Northern Illinois' bats and Mallory Gill
(Beloit, Wis./Memorial) launched her first career home run as Valpo defeated the Huskies 3-0 in game one of their doubleheader Tuesday at a windy Valparaiso University Softball Field. NIU came back to win game two 4-1.
Gill, who had only three career extra-base hits before Tuesday, made the score 3-0 in the second inning when her long fly ball carried the fence in left, scoring Beth Adamski
(Saint John, Ind./Lake Central) from first.
The Crusaders took the lead in the first, scoring when Taylor Callahan's
(Pendergrass, Ga./Greater Atlanta Christian) bloop landed in shallow left-center, plating Alicia Ashburn
(Mishawaka, Ind./Mishawaka) from second base. Callahan, hustling all the way, ended the play on second base with her fifth double of the year.
But the real story of the Crusader win was in the circle, where sophomores Chris Halstead
(Indianapolis, Ind./Cathedral) and Andrea Zappia
(Indianapolis, Ind./Franklin Central) scattered seven Husky hits and recorded the third Valpo shutout of the season. Halstead went the first five innings to even her record to 4-4, while Zappia tied her own school record with her third save of the season and pushed her career total to six, also the most in program history.
In game two, Northern Illinois' Paige Granath turned the tables on the Brown and Gold, tossing a three-hit gem for her third win of the season. Granath allowed only one hit past the fifth inning and retired 13 of the last 14 Crusaders she faced.
Valpo, however, did get on the scoreboard first. Gill opened the third with a single and moved up to second when Ann Sievert
(Davenport, Iowa/Assumption) bunted and the throw to second was not in time. The next batter, Karen Korb
(Indianapolis, Ind./Lutheran North), bunted the runners to second and third, and Gill scored moments later on a wild pitch.
The Huskies did their damage in the fifth off starter Stephanie Kelly
(Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield), who allowed only two hits in the first four innings. But in the fifth, three straight two-out hits plated three runs and spelled the end of Kelly's day.
Ashley Clement added some insurance for Northern Illinois in the sixth with her second homer of the year.
Kelly fell to 4-6 with the loss, while Granath improved to 3-2. The Huskies (14-16) tallied eight hits in the second game, three for extra bases.
The Crusaders (13-19) will return to the diamond Thursday afternoon for a single game at Purdue. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. with live coverage available on 95.1 FM and online at www.valpo.edu/athletics.
Game one box score
Game two box score